Eternity in Global Warming

featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2016  :: 0 comments

A clerk in a health food store
became upset when I said
I didn’t see anything I wanted
since I wasn’t a vegan
or vegetarian and liked my
red meat rare and dripping.

She said I needed to know
Nature is God and
Satan is Climate Change
and if I didn’t eat right
I would spend Eternity
in Global Warming.

I went back to the counter,
apologized with all my heart,
and said I would like to buy
the biggest hand fan in stock.

editors note:

Forgive us our meat, as we forgive those who meat against us. – mh clay

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

April 8, 2016  :: 0 comments

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him. Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses …

Bullies and the Wimp

featured in the poetry forum April 7, 2016  :: 0 comments

They laugh at him
because he’s weak
by their standards
but they don’t realize

they’ve signed a
contract with him,
a lifetime guarantee
for recompense.

It will be fulfilled
perhaps tomorrow or
maybe on a wedding day
or years from now at

the funeral of a loved one
when they’re as vulnerable
as he appears to be
and for the moment is

but they don’t realize
the spider in its web
looks slow to any fly
circling overhead.

editors note:

Minimize your deficit with a healthy respect for all. – mh clay

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

featured in the poetry forum January 17, 2016  :: 0 comments

Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What’s missing, Dad, I ask.
It’s midnight and I’m in bed.
It’ll take a while to get there.

Your mother went to make
pineapple upside down cake
hours ago and still no cake.
She’s nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won’t come over.
It’s just me and the dog
and he’s asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony’s.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you’re right again
Sorry I woke you but where’s
the pineapple upside down cake?
I’ve been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I’ll turn in.

editors note:

Can anyone remember where to find the dessert forks? (Another one (fun) from Donal on his page; a glimpse into his musical influences – check it out.) – mh clay

Mostly Basie with a Little Bach

January 17, 2016  :: 0 comments

Whenever I see a new woman, I know
I should look at her hair and her eyes and her smile
before I decide if she’s worth the small talk
and the dinner later
and whatever else she may require
before she becomes taffy,
pliant and smiling.
But that never works for me.
Whenever I see a new woman,
what matters to me is never
her hair or her eyes or her smile;

what matters to me is her saunter
as I stroll behind her.
If her moon comes over the mountain
and loops in languor, left to right,
and then loops back again,
primed for another revolution, then
I introduce myself immediately
no matter where we are,
in the stairwell or on the street
and that’s when I see for the first time
her hair and her eyes and her smile
but they are never a distraction since
I’m lost in the music of her saunter.

Years ago, tall and loping Carol Ann
took a train to Chicago,
found a job and then one summer day
walked ahead of me on Michigan Avenue
while I surveyed her universe amid
the cabs screeching, horns beeping,
a driver’s middle fingers rising.
Suddenly she turned and said hello
and we shook hands and I saw her smile
dart like a minnow and then disappear
as she frowned and asked
why was I walking behind her.

I told her I was on my way to the noon Mass
at Holy Name Cathedral and she was welcome
to come along. The sermon wouldn’t be much,
I said, but the coffee and bagels afterward
would be plentiful, enough to cover lunch.
And Jesus Christ Himself would be there.
She didn’t believe me, not at all,
and she hasn’t believed me since.

That was thirty years ago and
her smile is still a minnow
darting here and there but now
it’s more important than her saunter
which is still a symphony,
mostly Basie with a little Bach.

And I no longer traipse Michigan Avenue
as I did years ago looking for new moons
swirling in my universe. Instead,
I take my lunch in a little bag
on a long train from the suburbs
and I marvel at one fact:
It’s been thirty years since I first heard
the music in her saunter
and Carol Ann and I are
still together, praise the Lord.
Who can believe it? Not I.
Carol Ann says she knew
the ending from the start.
Lord, Almighty. Fancy that.

editors note:

At the finish from the start; the same sauntering moon holds his heart. – mh clay

Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion

January 15, 2016  :: 0 comments

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore. The word …

Homeless in Nome

featured in the poetry forum October 28, 2015  :: 1 comment

I was beautiful once,
the homeless lady tells
the young worker

who’s filling out forms
before assigning the lady
a bed for the night.

She’s been homeless
for months since
arriving from Dallas.

She’s looking for a job
and maybe a husband
but hasn’t found either.

The worse thing, she says,
is the weather in Nome.
It’s nothing like Dallas.

With snow in the winter
and rain in the summer
in Nome she needs

something to crawl under.
Often it’s a man, she says,
with no home either.

editors note:

Why, in god’s name, leave the one to dwell in the other? Well, ‘s easy – one rhymes with home, the other with malice. – mh clay

A Previous Life

October 23, 2015  :: 0 comments

It was their wedding night and Priya didn’t want to tell her new husband all about it but Bill kept asking where she had learned to walk like that. Finally she told him it was inherited from a previous life, a life she had lived many years ago in India, not far from Bangalore. She had been a cobra kept …

A Singular Repast

featured in the poetry forum August 27, 2015  :: 1 comment

We are to each other now
many decades later
what we were the day

we got married, a couple
at the kitchen table on
a summer night—she

a slice of watermelon,
corners touching the ceiling,
covering my face in juice

and I the corn she butters
before she devours it.
We eat as fast as we can.

editors note:

Oh my! Can’t wait for dessert… – mh clay

The Bully, the Psychopath, Libby and Lorraine

July 10, 2015  :: 2 comments

Fred was a bully who always bothered Lenny on the way to school. Fred was four years older than Lenny. One day Lenny told him that when he grew up he would kill him. Fred laughed and probably didn’t expect to see Lenny that night, twenty years later, when Lenny waited for him in the alley next to his garage. …